Nikon Shows Off Retro-Styled Zf Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

09/20/2023Link46

Nikon married the old and the new this week with the announcement of an addition to the Z-series lineup, the Nikon Zf. The Zf has a retro-inspired look reminiscent of the Nikon FM2 but with all the modern convenience of the Z6 II, and then some.

Nikon Zf
Nikon Zf

The Zf features a 24.5 MP full-frame sensor, just like the Z6 II, but with the EXPEED 7 chip that you find in the Z8 and Z9. This upgraded processing power gives the Zf the boost it needs to perform pre-release burst (a boon for action or wildlife photographers), improved autofocus, and continuous shooting of 30 fps in JPEG and 14 fps in raw. The camera’s increased processing power and advanced image stabilization also allow Nikon to implement pixel-shift technology for the first time ever, letting the Zf procure high-resolution images. The improved IS will even adjust depending on your chosen focus point, for extra clear subject matter.

Thanks to the improved processing, the Zf offers superior video options, such as H.256 10-bit internal log and UHD 4K up to 60p for 125 minutes. When recording 4K up to 30p the camera will down-sample from the full 6K image area for more detail and less noise. Nikon has also included a fully articulating screen for the first time in a Z-series camera.

The Zf has 299 Automatic AF zones, a considerable increase over the Z6 II’s 81 AF zones. It also borrows the Z8 and Z9’s algorithm for subject detection and 3D tracking, giving it the ability to recognize a subject in the frame, (whether it is a human, animal, or vehicle) and focus automatically. Even if the subject is moving quickly or erratically, 3D tracking ensures the camera will be able to predict and maintain focus.

The Zf also has better low-light performance with a higher maximum ISO (100-64,000), and focus point vibration reduction that prioritizes blur suppression around the focal point, regardless of whether it’s in the center or the edge of the frame. It also has an impressive eight stops of vibration reduction, a new benchmark for Nikon. This will help you record sharp video and photos, whether you are holding the camera by hand or using a tripod, expanding its potential applications.

With the Zf, Nikon jumped on the black-and-white bandwagon, including a nifty monochrome toggle that allows you to switch seamlessly between color and two monochrome color options. This is a clever feature for anyone trying to immerse themselves in a vintage camera experience.

One controversial design move was Nikon’s decision to include dual card slots. The primary card slot is UHS-II compatible, but the second slot can only accept a microSD card. Some may balk at a microSD; however, it did help Nikon keep down the overall size and cost of the camera while providing backup storage.

One of the lens bundles offered has a special edition NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 prime lens, similar to the special edition NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 lens that was released alongside the Zfc in 2021. The other bundle has a classic 24-70mm f/4.

One of the lens bundles offered has a special edition NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 prime lens, similar to the special edition NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 lens that was released alongside the Zfc in 2021.
One of the lens bundles offered has a special edition NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 prime lens, similar to the special edition NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 lens that was released alongside the Zfc in 2021.

All in all, the Zf is the perfect combination of style and power.

Borrowing the vintage look of the FM2 which is also mimicked by the Zfc, but with a full-frame sensor and processing power from Nikon’s other pro-grade cameras, the Zf doesn’t just look good but has the technology it needs to perform. From fast autofocus, to burst shooting, to better buffering, and increased video performance, the Zf is a fantastic option for travel, street, or everyday photography. It’s small enough to carry with you everywhere but rugged enough to withstand daily use, making this camera an excellent addition to the Z-series lineup.

Will you be adding the Zf to your kit? Let us know in the Comments section, below. For additional information, be sure to click through to the individual product pages.

Comments

46 Comments

Wowww...
Cut your Adderall dose in half buddy!
This is a camera review; not the financial disclaimer for leasing a new McLaren Spider.

Pre-ordered mine, and look forward to what I feel will be the best camera for my prefences:

- 100% manual glass with adapters

- 100% manual mode shooting

- solid construction with real dials for the only settings that I ever use

- the fewest possible other buttons/dials, and minimal need to interface with a screen

When I got back into photography a few years ago after a 20+ year break, I found the Fujifilm line to be a great re-entry.

I started with a used xPro2, traded after a year or so to a GFX50R to try Medium fotmat, but immediately regretted the trade because the 50R did not give the desired tactile experience (plasticky, hollow feeling, uninspiring shutter feel...).

I sold that and got a used Leica CL, which hit most of my sweet spots.

my current body, a Leica SL, is absolutely wonderful, but the new Zf takes things way closer to my sweet spot.

Plus, it will fit in very nicely with my 1979 F2AS and 1986 FM2.

Thank you, Nikon!

What kind of clown likens this to a rangefinder?

What a bunch of techie bellyachers!

I love the look and feel of this camera as a compliment to my pro Nikon DSLRs! (I use D850's professionally) and have owned Nikon since the Nikon F was new and all in between.

Was tempted by the Zfc--but now with the full frame sensor--I'm in!

Get a 24-70 and go take pictures with it!

I would love to preorder this camera, but I’ll be out of the country in Poland/Ukraine for 3 months starting October 19th. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if I can pick it up abroad.

ehhh, when you're a professional, none of these niche cameras really interest you anymore.  The Zf is cool...but way too gimmicky with the dials and exposure compensation.  It's a 'for fun' camera, not meant for professionals.  Plus the image quality is the same between Canon's, Fuji's, Nikons etc nowadays once you see through all the marketing fluff.  

Maybe the sharpness but there are differences in the color science and how they handle the raw editing.

Looking forward to this tbh. I probably won't buy one unless they do some fuji stuff and get onboard with the film sims. Still a cool release though, hoping to see more of this. 

The camera looks interesting and has a lot of useful features, but It's not a rangefinder style.  It's an SLR style.  A B&H spokesman ought to know the difference.

I was thinking the exact same thing.  Also, he says it resembles an FM2, which is an SLR, not a rangefinder.

20 years ago, I telphoned Nikon and said I would like to suggest what I would love  Nikon to make.  I suggested exactly what the Zf is.   They told me that Nikon has lots of "experts" from whom the get their ideas and feedback, and did not need my suggestions.  Why would the want to even listen to a long time Nikon customer?

Four years later, I bought a Sony a6000.  It walked away from my then, Nikon D90 (my favorite of all), and was half the price!   I got the message, forget the zombies.  I sold all my Nikon stuff and never missed it.  However, one Nikon item proved very useful, the ES-1 Slide Copying Adapter.  That and a $5.00 adapter ring and a Sony SEL30M35 macro lens became the perfect gear for duplicating 35 mm slides.  Many years of Nikon 35 mm camera slides, saved by Sony.

Oh, and I should mention one other thing.  A Nikon D80 preceded the D90. It too horrible exposures.  Every time I called Nikon Tech support, and they requested an image from the camera, they would tell me that washed out green skies with no clouds were perfectly normal photos.  They made excellent liars too.

Now that your 20 years earlier suggestion has come true, are you going to buy this camera..?

Does this camera include weather sealing?

Yes, the Nikon Zf according to Nikon has Durable Weather Sealing. 

Does any one know about sensor read out speed? Or if it has a global shutter like the Z8/9? I would love to be able to use this on film sets to get BTS stills and video without having to worry too much about banding from low refresh rate LED lights and warping images.

At this time we do not have information from Nikon on the sensor read out speed. More information should be released from Nikon in time. But it does not have a global shutter. 

Very excited about this! This is the camera I've been dreaming about for a long time (a FF Fujifilm, but with Nikon lenses). This is NOT rangefinder-style - I have no idea why the host of the video above says that at a couple points. (How does someone at B&H not know the difference?)

In any case, a big selling point here is the improved IBIS and AF even compared with the (pro, top-of-the-line) Z8 and Z9 in some aspects. This camera isn't just a looker - it's amazing value and a powerhouse for hobbyists. Take my money, B&H!

Love the retro look, but wish it were in a rangefinder configuration, such as my truly retro-looking Fujifilm XPro3.  Why 24.5 MP when Sony's a7CR, a compact rangefinder camera but lacking metal construction, has a 61 MP sensor?  I'm looking to upgrade to a full sensor camera for my Leica and Voigtlander lenses (with adaptors), but regretfully this is a miss for me.  

Wow what  a great camera. I still own my original Nikon FM Chrome from 1977. This looks so much like it except with the latest bling. Just returned from 2023 National Reno Air Races which I used my D500 and Z50 with my legacy  200-500mm and 15-200 Nikon lenses with a FTZ adapter. Excellent results in every aspect. Would love to have seen Nikon put that technology in a newer DX body with less video technology in the same category as the D500. Cropped sensor allows me to reach out further during Airshows to capture those unique images and moments.

I have the FM3a, the Df, and the Zfc all three chrome. 

When Nikon releases a Zf chrome, that's when I'll make my purchase.

Why does one of the stills in this video say Sony A7RVI? I hate the flippy screen, but will probably buy it, anyway. The image stabilization is a big selling point. Impressive.

They mentioned twice in the video that it has a rangefinder form factor.  That's not how a rangefinder looks or works.  It just looks like an old SLR with traditional controls.  

For me, the Zf is an advance because it has the Expeed 7 processor with this allowing the Z8 autofocus modes. Take a look at the Z8 autofocus modes, with the built-in subject recognition and tracking. It really makes a difference! It is Z8 autofocus for half the price. I'm a bit mystified that this is rolled out in the Zf rather than a Z6iii, and it will be interesting to see a Z6iii--assuming it shows up. Combined with other tricks such as generating higher megapixel images by using the sensor VR to wiggle the sensor around, capture multiple images, and combine them (which has been around in competing manufacturer's cameras for awhile), and again using the Z8 processor to enable higher-end video, this looks to me like a great travel camera.

Why, at the 5:10 mark, is the image labeled as shot by a Sony A7r?

Nice review, interesting camera. Having a Nikon Df and a Nikon Zfc, this fits the type of camera body I like to use.

One nit pick. Very enthusiastic reviewer, but please have him change the number of times he says the Zf is retro, like an old "RANGEFINDER". It is retro, but like an old "SLR". It is nothing like a RANGEFINDER. A Leica M body is a rangefinder. The Nikon Zf is a Mirrorless camera that looks and handles like an old film SLR.

I desperately want a Nikon Z mirrorless to replace my Nikon DSLRs, but I have invested in all of these F-mount lenses! Has anyone used the lens adaptor and does it work well? Do they still even make and sell it?

The FTZ adapters let you use some 360 F-mount lenses WITHOUT any loss of quality or functionality on any of the Z-mount cameras. The only type they don't fully support is the AI lenses. But whichever lens you have for F-mount will work on FTZ. 

Greetings from Maui!

I too have so many Nikon Dslr lenses but here is my advice. When you upgrade to the Z system, get Z lenses as well. I have two Z cameras, the Z72 & the ZFC & almost all the DSLR's.  The Z Lenses autofocus is unbeleivable & you will not regret all the money you put into them when you see how stellar the autofocus works. I had a photoshoot where I took 931 total images & once I edited them I had only deleted 36 images!  My understanding is that altough the adapter works connecting old skool lenses to the New Z cameras, it does so at a cost!

Now my biggest concern is what do I buy next, a fullframe ZF OR a Z8? I need to upgrade my second pro camera which currently is a Nikon D4S. I use this camera almost strictly with a 70-200 F2.8 lens & my Z72 for everything else.  

I think I need both! My biggest dislike of the ZFC is that it is a cropped sensor & the ZF full frame would be perfect for my personal everyday camera while the Z8 with all its Z9 qualities at a much cheaper price & it's special Three USER settings makes this a priority for my buisness. Of course with the Z8 I'll have to upgrade to the Z 70-200 2.8 lens.

Yikes thats alot of expense!  

The FTZ-II works great. No optics, just a spacer, so no degradation of the image — and supports all the AF-S lenses I still own. Just remember that with older lenses without focusing motors (D, for example), you won't get AF.
Nikon still doesn't make a 300mm Z series, but no prob — I get to use my 300 f4 PF on my Z bodies With AF, etc.

No personal experience here, but Matt Granger on YouTube, who loves his old AF-S 200 and AF-S 105 f/1.4, says they actually work *better* adapted for the Z9. So I don't think you have any worries so long as you're talking about AF-S F-mount lenses. (AF/AF-D won't autofocus with the FTZ adapters.)

One additional point: The Zf appears to have enhanced abilities when it comes to manual focus, something above and beyond zebra stripes. So you can look forward to that if you're a MF shooter or will use MF lenses.

CORRECTION:

Hmmm....The Df was unique not only because it was retro but also it was so small for the big chip, finally a pro travel dslr...that looked great. Now we have Z6/7 for pro travel not sure this is really anything but nice design... How about a 33 megapixel Z6III (8K capability) with better focus and no increase in noise???? Ido like the articulating back screen...

 

3:2 33MP does not get you 16:9 8K.

The D600 and D610 were even smaller IIRC.

Hmmm....The Zf was unique not only because it was retro but also it was so small for the big chip, finally a pro travel dslr...Now we have Z6/7 for pro travel not sure this is really anything but nice design... How about a 33 megapixel Z6III (8K capability) with better focus and no increase in noise???? Ido like the articulating back screen...

I like it and it may be a future purchase. However, I already own 2 Nikon DF's and can't see an immediate need to upgrade. I don't take videos or need that option with my camera and I like the fact that Nikon left that out of the DF. Moreover, lack of video kept the price down when the DF was introduced around 10 years ago and I didn't have to buy something I didn't need. 

And Paul Simon correctly pronounced the name. NIKON it is and will always be. Now if I could only get some Kodachrome. 

Really great looking camera. But, since I still own my chrome Nikon FE and 50mm 1.8 and Ilford XP2 B&W film processed as color film, I will keep on shooting the ORIGINAL Zf for a while. But I will be lusting after this camera in black with the 40 mm lens.

Good luck with this model B&H, you guys are the best in my opinion.

Nice new model. Now if only B&H could respect the Japanese and pronounce the name correctly as Nee-kon :) I'll never understand how America became the only place in the world to get their name wrong.

I've always assumed it was mainly Paul Simon's hit song Kodachrome from 1973 that permanently embedded that incorrect  pronunciation in the USA? Along with other common English language words that are spelled and sound similar like Mike, bike, hike, trike, pike, Nike, Ike, like, strike, etc. etc.? I would assume that the folks at B&H are very aware of the correct pronunciation of Nikon and have great respect for the company and the Japanese but got tired of fighting upstream many times a day when unaware customers would question and argue with them? "Wut da hell is a "Knee-kon"? That ain't how ya supposed to say it!" ;-) 

Blame Nikon marketing/advertising, not the "unaware" consumers. All of Nikon's own North American radio/TV commercials have used the "incorrect" pronunciation, ~60's through now.

Nikon's own marketing in the US pronounces it Neye-kon.

Hmm - dilemma - I have the Zfc - and I want a full frame Z - do I choose this one, or the Z8?  Do I choose this AND the Z8, but ditch the Zfc?  I'm going to have to think about this for a whiile, before I make ANY decisions.  This one has features I want, that the Z8 doesn't.  The Z8 has features I want, that this one doesn't.  All three would be ridiculous.  Damn - too hard!  I'll just keep using the Zfc and scratch my head for a while longer.

I have a similar dilemma. I have the Zfc and a Z6 as well as a D850.

Just remember that the Zfc is much smaller, so there's that. The Zf however is still much smaller than the Z8 but packs a lot of the AF power plus IBIS (which the Zfc lags behind in).

Personally, unless you've invested in a lot of DX lenses, I'd sell the Zfc and get the Zf and Z8 (assuming money isn't the issue).